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McCain: Not Looking for Breakthrough Veep

By Glenn Kessler
DAYTON, Ohio -- Sen. John McCain said today that the prospect of facing either the first African American or first female presidential candidate would not play a factor in his selection of a running mate.

Some analysts have touted names such as Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (Tex.) and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as possible vice presidential candidates, should the Republicans want to avoid the image of an all-white male ticket.

But the 71-year-old McCain said he was "not capable of that kind of Machiavellian approach to things." He said he would look first to whether that person could quickly replace him as president and whether that person "shares your philosophy and values and priorities."

McCain conceded that running against such a historic candidacy would be a "great challenge," especially with a demoralized Republican electorate. "I do not underestimate how tough this campaign is going to be and how hard I am going to have to work," he said.

But he said he thought most voters ultimately would choose a candidate not based on race or gender but on whether they felt that candidate would work for them. He pointed to the election of John F. Kennedy, in 1960. Kennedy was the first Catholic president, but McCain said one "could argue that Jack Kennedy won that election not because all the Catholics united behind him but because he ran a better campaign. I think it all comes down to the campaign."

By Web Politics Editor  |  February 20, 2008; 2:42 PM ET
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